I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
The single most important thing in making your sales strategy successful, in making sure that you get through to potential customers and are able to nurture the most promising leads, isn’t the quality of your pitch.
It isn’t your pricing.
It isn’t even your USP.
It’s how fast you reply when potential customers get in touch.
And the window of opportunity is alarmingly small. Not a week. Not a day. Not even an hour.
It’s five minutes.
Yes, just five minutes after a prospective client leaves a message on your answerphone or fires an email into your inbox, the chances that you’ll never get to speak to them again increases by an incredible 900%.
You’d think that, with so much at stake, companies would be doing everything they physically can to make sure that no hot leads slip through the net. You’d think they would be focusing their energies on making sure they’re set up to track and respond to incoming calls and messages as fast as they possibly can.
But far too many businesses are doing precisely the opposite. If anything, they seem to be inexplicably complacent about getting back to potential customers fast.
(And we’re not just talking about big call centres here. Smaller business experience these problems just as acutely – and they typically feel the costs of losing out on a lead more severely, too.)
One study conducted by University of Ohio and InsideSales.com found that, out of a sample of 2,241 businesses, a quarter took more than 24 hours to reply to enquiries. Another quarter didn’t bother to respond at all!
It gets worse. Taking too long to get back to people is bad enough, but what if you never even knew they were trying to get in touch with you in the first place? If they aren’t able to get through to you when they call, or don’t feel like leaving a message on a machine?
According to research by BT Business, the average cost of missing just one customer call is a pretty scary £1,200, while being uncontactable for a full 24 hours can lose an SME up to £20,000.
And when the average customer will give up and move on to another vendor after just two failed attempts to get through, missing calls can be an absolute disaster.
Of course, it’s all very well just to tell people they should be striking while the iron is still red-hot and glowing. But how do you actually do that?
Often it’s as simple as investing in a great call answering service.
This is a third party that acts as your organisation’s front desk, fielding incoming calls to make sure nothing gets missed, no messages get lost and that all prospective leads find their way to the right place. Any simple queries can be handled by the operator, while more complex questions or anything related to sales can be passed on straight away to the relevant person in the organisation.
While it’s an external service, this can actually be treated as an extension of your own company, ensuring that all calls are handled properly without the need to employ an internal army of people to babysit the phones at all times.
It’s a great way to exude professionalism, avoid frustration and make sure that you start building a relationship with prospective customers from the first moment they try to get in touch.
What’s more, it talks the pressure off your team to jump on every call, allowing you to be more productive and serve your existing customers better, without risking new business.
You don’t have to sacrifice leads because you’re out on a job, in a meeting or working on a project that needs your complete attention. You don’t have to worry that you’re missing out on opportunities while you’re on a call to someone else.
And, of course, you don’t have to drop everything to take every call that comes in, only to find it’s not a prospective lead at all!
So, What Next?
If you’re determined not to miss any incoming sales calls ever again, click here to arrange a Free, No-obligation Consultation and we’ll give you all the help & advice you need.